Beloved Bushwick DIY venue/housing cooperative/artist colony Silent Barn has been in a bit of a financial bind of late. The popular concert venue, which also functions as an art collective of sorts, has struggled to navigate a coldly indifferent capitalist world, and Silent Barn — technically a for-profit LLC but operating more or less as a non-profit and in the process of transitioning to one — has put out an urgent call for donations as well as paid members.
As one might expect, the 5th annual WitchsFest USA, which unfurled its freak flag over Astor Place on Saturday, was a hotbed for crazies. Oh, we’re not talking about the usual chatty theologians, fantasy-contact-wearing druid bachelors, springy sprites, and cute pagan moms wearing their fishnet best and proudly pushing faerie-winged kiddies through the packed street fest. No, you could hardly accuse these pagan faithful of being antisocial– instead, it was the Christian protest element, out in full force on Saturday afternoon, that earned the watchful eye of the police and the ire of a doting crust punk tribe.
Alt Citizen has been doing their thing since 2012– the music blog’s bread-and-butter is album reviews (past and present), essays, show recommendations (mostly local Brooklyn stuff), and interviews with bands from all over. Last year, they expanded to a pocket-sized zine, of which three issues have dropped. “When you do a blog for years you start to go crazy not having a tangible thing to show people in terms of what you’re working on, so the zine naturally came out of that,” editor-in-chief and founder Nasa Hadizadeh admitted. The same impetus was behind Alt Space, a brand new storefront and gallery Alt Citizen is opening in Bushwick next week.
In anticipation of the opening for the Witches of Bushwick residency at Stream Gallery, we stopped by the Bushwick mini-art front yesterday. We can’t say we didn’t look sort of ridiculous getting there right as the gate opened, but thankfully we were greeted not only by a singular, unopened bottle of red wine sitting by its lonesome on a pedestal but also by Christine Tran (co-founder of Witches of Bushwick along with Anne Alexander).
A scowling woman shoved a plastic bag in my face and gestured toward the mound of grapefruits at a Chinatown grocery like any other. “No thanks,” I smiled, pointing toward the rust red door with chicken scratch white paint that reads: 94 1/2. “Oh,” she said knowingly and smiled. Unlike everyone else clucking around the piles of produce, I wasn’t shopping. I was looking for an art show supposedly behind this dingy door. I tentatively knocked and heard no echo, no indication there was anything but darkness behind there, let alone an exhibition dedicated to work by the street artist RAE, some recent and some that might have otherwise been lost had it not been for a helpful neighbor.
We’ve already outlined a couple of worthwhile shows in our weekend events round-up (reminder: Death by Audio. Tonight. Speedy Ortiz, Roomrunner, and California X. You won’t spend a better $8 all year), but this being New York City, there are, of course, several more shows worth attending over the next week, a few of which are highlighted below. For more complete listings, see the B+B calendar.